What I Did on My Winter Break

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XmasCard2015

Well, it’s finally winter break– a full week off!  It’s been a tough year, so I’m not sad to bring it to a close.  In addition to everything else, I’m still nursing my back injury (though it definitely is getting better, despite the neurosurgeon’s insistence that only surgery would fix it) and a weird cough that just won’t go away.  Above is the card Jolyon made for me this year, which I think sums things up nicely.

Despite all that, though, we did manage to have a perfectly lovely Christmas.  Jolyon made trifle trifle2015 using a strawberry vegetarian gelatin alternative I found online.  It’s every bit as delicious as it looks here, and also very boozy.  (That may be a large part of why it’s so good.)  The rest of Christmas dinner (guests: Mom, Gerry, us, Rose, Lily, Olive, Sapphire, Ruby) was another en croute Field Roast, scalloped potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, glazed carrots, and gravy.  Mom did the potatoes, and also our appetizers of spicy shrimp and cheese straws.

I got much good loot, too, including Thug Kitchen and Bittman’s new one, Kitchen Matrix.  With some of the money Gerry gave me, I also picked up Backyard Pharmacy, which has some interesting stuff I am excited to try.  I’m already steeping some thyme in honey to treat this cough, but it needs a week to be ready, so nothing to report yet.

Today being only the second day I feel energetic enough to do anything useful, I made a couple batches of muffins from TK (carrot-apple and peanut butter-banana; the lavender blueberry scones I made yesterday are delicious).  We’re dog-sitting Shiloh just for the day, while Kirsten and David move, which means we got up early, and I then felt the need to accomplish stuff.

So after the muffins, I figured it was time to bottle that elderberry wine:

elderberry

19 bottles and the overflow

elderberry2

20 bottles of the 2nd run (which is made from reused fruit)

These are now sitting on the dining room table because I’m not quite sure where else to store them.  I’ve moved last year’s bottles to the more accessible wine racks between the kitchen and the back room.  I also rotated this year’s apple wine into the rack above the basement steps.  I’m currently keeping the dandelion upright, since it’s sparkling, but I may change my mind on that– the corks are held firmly in place with those tricky little wire cages and all.  There’s definitely not sufficient rack space for those and these 39 new guys, in any case. I guess I should have asked for more racks for Christmas!

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